UNICEF Demands Unconditional Release of Abducted Zamafara Students

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By Francis Sardauna

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has condemned the attack by bandits on Government Girls Secondary School Jangebe in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

Consequently, the organisation called for the immediate and unconditional release of all the abducted female students and their return to their families.

The UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Peter Hawkins, who made this known in a statement on Friday, described the attack on the children as a gross violation on the children’s rights and horrific experience for children to go through.

Hawkins, in the statement, said: “UNICEF today (Friday) expressed concern at reports of an overnight attack at the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State, north-west Nigeria, where an unconfirmed number of schoolgirls were kidnapped.

“We are angered and saddened and by yet another brutal attack on schoolchildren in Nigeria,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

“This is a gross violation of children’s rights and a horrific experience for children to go through – one which could have long-lasting effects on their mental health and well-being”.

He added that: “We utterly condemn the attack and call on those responsible to release the girls immediately and for the government to take steps to ensure their safe release and the safety of all other schoolchildren in Nigeria.

“Children should feel safe at home and at school at all times – and parents should not need to worry for the safety of their children when they send them off to school in the morning”.

According to him, UNICEF acknowledged efforts being made by the government of Nigeria to secure the release of kidnapped schoolchildren in Nigeria and calls on the government and all concerned to make schools safe in Nigeria.

He said UNICEF is working with partners to confirm the exact number of kidnapped students, “currently estimated to be more than 300”.